Wednesday, 30 January 2008

bag and baggage----3WW


there were sunken puckers, where orbs of her eyes ought to be.
she crouched on the ground, pulled out a sack from underneath her bed;
untied it clumsily, poured its content on dusty floor.
sightless she might have been, her instincts worked fine.
with right approach, she found an almost empty bottle of wine.
this, she had saved for special occassion. she took a swig,
relishing those last few drops of rancid liquor.
changing into her least patched clothes,
covering her head with a shawl which had seen better days-
leaving everything, she walked out, ready to go to a new place.

foraging, begging days were over; her tired bones needed rest.
old home for the destitute had come to her rescue
hopping into ferrying van, she huddled into a corner;
closing her eyes relishing her moment of glory.

when they came to help her out, death had claimed her
ever so swiftly, wrinkled skin, now smooth.


*This is roughly based on a real life story. There are too many beggars and rag-pickers in the streets, including the very old. Lucky ones get picked by a home for the destitute. Younger ones do not want to be. However, the older lot homeless that they are, wish for it.


  1. This really packs an emotional wallop--I was really surprised by the ending--and saddened.

  2. I know that when my son went to India he found the number of beggars on the streets hard to take. This poem certainly packs an emotional punch - there's a bitter sweetness.

  3. That is very sad. We have about 2,000 homeless people in our city of 700,000. It has been about -45C with the wind chill at night for the past few days and there seems to be a spot for all of these poor souls.

    I am always mystified that people are cheering the rise of housing. Even though my city still made the list of the 50 most affordable places on the 4th annual Demographia Survey, (ave house costs 2.7 X median income) so many of our cities are quickly becoming impossibly expensive for the average family.

    The morass caused by the high risk mortgage fiasco that was spearheaded by uber greedy bankers in the US will probably trigger a huge recession...which will affect our country because of our intertwined economy...all because of unbridled avarice.

    The gap between the rich and the poor is returning to historic levels..which is very unnerving but it was just an illusion anyway.

    As a Boomer cohort I witnessed the artificial era of endless opportunity and here we are at the end of the rainbow. No pot of gold in sight.

    Very touching post Gautami.

  4. Gautami, this is extremely well expressed, well written. I could see this and feel it. You have written from truth as well (and interesting, we both talk about wine bottles today!!!!).

  5. Thanks Gautami, for the comments. I changed the last stanza, take a look to see what you think..

    This 3WW of yours is reality spoken - I esp. liked the last line where death claims and she has atlast attained peace-

  6. Gautami, this is heartbreaking indictment of societies priorities. Everywhere and in every country we have desperate poor dying.

    Thanks for your honest poetry.



  7. she knew she wouldn't die in the street.. she found peace,, and she went.... that was lovely......

  8. Wow! I don't think I can come to a better response....moving, emotional, a word journey. Excellent use of the prompt words

  9. The other commenters have said it. The poem is complete because it not only tells a full story but includes two opposite extremes of emotion--despair and failure on the one hand (failure of her sight, failure of society to care for her, etc.) and redemption and "happy" ending on the other (comfort, peace, finality). Nicely done, and lyrical as always.

  10. Gautami, I kept my emotions intact reading this, until you threw that punch at the end. Well written, sad, so sad.

  11. Sweet irony. This reminds me of a more serious version of O. Henry's "The Cop and the Anthem". A change comes too little too late.

  12. Palpable sadness and despair. The twist at the end enlightened! Nice!

  13. Gautami, you tell a novel in the span of this poem. you bring this woman to life for me. The description of her clothing, eyes, and drinking is excellent.

    Also, it was nice to see one of your more recent poems featured on readwritepoem. Congratulations.

  14. That was beautiful. I didn't find the ending uplifting as housing should be a basic right for everybody everywhere

  15. A poignant portrayal...More troubling as this happens not too far from us..delayed justice a.k.a denied justice!Flip - perhaps she was finally called to a permanent abode of peace that she was hunting for all her life;after life! The scene overtakes your words. Successful writing!


  16. Fabulous. Leaves an "apocalyptic" feeling.

  17. Oh, that's great. It makes me appreciate what I do have more.

    I guess we just don't see what we have unless we lose it or see people that don't.

  18. a sad story but a beautifully peaceful and meaningful ending
    thank you

  19. Did you see in your minds eye or with your own eye. I don't give praise lightly...this was so wonderful.

    You have been tagged. Visit my blog and give it a go.


  20. you have portrayed raw images of life...interesting how the old are treated... some w/respect and reverence.. others tossed as old rags.. i loved her strength...

  21. you've portrayed the essence of want and need with this poem. everyone needs a home to call their own. i wish each homeless person could be so lucky as to find a home before it's to late. thanks for sharing. have a nice night.

  22. Oooh, Tami, so many of your poems end with an ouch - this one as well. Lives of quiet desperation, eh?

  23. a sad story wonderfully presented.

  24. this is sad and powerful... thanks for sharing it

  25. I like the fact that at least in death, she finds a way to get some sort of perfection she lost back.